31 Mar 2018

Weekend Wrap-up #3

The Sunday post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things you have received.


I was on the move the whole week, it felt really nice to leave my town for a bit after spending months at home. I was called in for a job interview in Budapest so I travelled there in the middle of the week. That also gave me opportunity to spend a whole day there with my boyfriend after the interview. We went to the cinema, watched Black Panther at last and we even had some time left to wander around together. It was a lovely day.

On Friday we came to Oradea, Romania with my family to spend the Easter weekend here and we are having a good time. It's a beautiful city with wonderful buildings (although a lot of them could do with a little renovation). There is an Easter market in the main square, the sun is shining... all in all I count myself lucky to be here right now.

I hope your Easter weekend is going well too!

Posts this week:

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews that makes it possible to share with other bookworms what books you added to your shelves physical or virtual during the week. 

Purchased:

Physical book: 
 
Title: Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman 


I was so glad to find this book in one of the shop windows in Oradea. I bought the last copy, it was waiting just for me. As you know Neil Gaiman is my favourite contemporary writer, I'm collecting his books. Can't wait to start this. I've always wanted to know more about Norse Mythology.








Ebook:

Title: How to Hang a Witch

Author: Adriana Mather

Source: Amazon


I've featured this book in one of my Goodreads Monday posts before. Since I'm watching NBC's Timeless, and the Salem episode is coming up this Sunday I wanted to start a book that matches the theme. Probably I will start this tomorrow and we'll see how I'll like it.





ARCs:

Title: The Shipbuilder

Author: Salina B. Baker

Source: RABT Book Tours 


Paradise Found will be part of The Shipbuilder's book tour and since these days I'm drawn to sea adventures or books that have something to do with ships and the sea I'm excited about this novel. I have started reading it and my book tour post is coming on April 15.




Title: Winter Eternal (The River that Flows Two Ways #1)

Author: E. Thomas Joseph

Source: Prodigy Gold Books


Prodigy Gold Books asked me to read and review this new title of theirs. At the time of the War of Independence soldiers and occultists alike race to acquire a mysterious artifact that can defeat time. It sounds interesting, I like the setting and the cover too (zombie soldier, hahhh).




How was your week? What are you reading at the moment? Please leave your STS and Sunday post links in a comment below!

30 Mar 2018

Book Beginnings on Friday and the Friday 56 #10

Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules: 

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.

This Friday I've started the following book:

by Salina B. Baker


Synopsis:

In the summer of 1869, beleaguered for-hire killer Zach Dimitru arrives in Eastport, Maine, bearing an amulet and searching for absolution. His salvation is dependent on the Benoit Family, who are also pitiless and tormented. Zach's deliverance is reliant on Juliette Benoit. The young woman is grieving the loss of her soul mate, whom she believes has reincarnated without her. Miraculously, the amulet imparts messages to Juliette. The fate of both Zach and Juliette, as well as the town, depends upon her ability to learn and convey those lessons before the arrival of a hurricane--one with the force to devastate Eastport.


Book Beginning:

Prologue:

Shelby Rolle's hands shook as he threw his fishing net into the blue water.

Chapter one:

The storm pummeling Eastport, Maine moaned in sympathy as Helen Vickers struggled to give birth.

Children born during a storm tend to be strong ones. I hope this baby will be healthy.


The Friday 56: 

The amulet was her secret – her precious companion. She believed that its murmurings were an exclusive part of her psyche. Sissy's calim to hear the amulet felt like a betrayal.

Ahh, the mysterious amulet. I'm curious what 'murmurings' mean here. Do they hear what the amulet 'says' in their head? We'll see...

What are you reading at the moment? Please leave a link to your Friday post below!

29 Mar 2018

Book Blitz + Giveaway - Dragon Raider by Ava Richardson

Title: Dragon Raider

Author: Ava Richardson

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release Date: March 28th 2018

Summary:
Will adapting to a changing world make one young woman lose touch with where she came from? Far from the kingdom of Torvald, on the Western Isles near the coast, Sea Dragons rule the skies. 

Lila is the daughter of the Raider leader, destined to take his place one day aboard their plundering ships. Her people value only what shiny trinkets they can get their hands on, but she aspires to much more than that: Lila wants the Raiders to become Dragon Mercenaries, dragon riders who help protect merchant fleets and navies from attack. 

Her father Kasian is skeptical, but a young monk named Danu—with a quest of his own—comes bearing a prophecy claiming that Lila is the lost heir of Roskilde, a born Dragon Rider. With Danu’s guidance, Lila finds the unruly dragon she’s destined to bond with—but the mismatched pair soon learn that much more than just their futures is at stake.

 

Buy Links:

Excerpt: 

Churning seas, bright with blood. Fire billowing over the water, and dark skies heavy with thunder…

“Aii!” The old woman awakes with a start to find herself in her simple round room in her simple round hut. The inner walls are dark, though she knows with the dawn the plaster will gleam white. The floor is yet the solid, deep mahogany planks she has trod for decades. The roof is still the weathered, bone-white but also bone-strong giant supports of giant driftwood, with heavy, warm thatch over that. Here are not the churning and frothing waters of her dreams. Not the billows of fire, not the dark storm skies.

The old woman sighs deeply, patting her frail chest as if to quiet the night terrors that had so recently fluttered there.

To say that this woman is old is an understatement. Chabon Kaidence is beyond ancient. Her pale skin is deeply lined as if cracked, and her eyes are sunken – but there is still a spark of vitality within their depths, like hidden stars. Even the folds and wrinkles of her skin still glows despite its age.
The Matriarch of the West Witches has been alive for a long time, long enough to know when a dream has stopped being just that, and has instead, become a prophecy.

A pale hand moves unsteadily to the wicker table, where a silver bell sits on piece of rough-woven, colorful fabric. She rings it, once, for the silver chime to cut through the night like a shooting star.

“Mother?” A voice sounds almost immediately at the heavy purple curtains that hang over her door, and, for a moment Chabon blinks from the glare of brighter light outside.

“You fool!” snaps another voice behind the first, and into her room step two women: one is tall and lean, with skin the color of rich, warm earth, and the other is as pale as Chabon lying before them. 

The first has braids of black hair falling behind her back like tree roots, whereas the pale woman has fields of golden hair streaming behind her like sunshine. It is this fair and pale woman who snaps at her darker colleague.

“Afar, you’ll blind the Mother. Turn off that light!” she says angrily, pushing her way into the room to cross the mahogany floor and stand at Chabon’s bedside.

Afar scowls for a moment, but she does as she is advised, turning the notches on the lantern until it only emits a dulled, yellowish glow as she steps into the room. Behind her, the Matriarch catches a glimpse of the wooden walkways that stretch from one hut to the next, crisscrossing the island of Sebol like vines.

“I am blinded by the darkness, Ohotto, not the light,” Chabon breathes to her two most-trusted sisters amongst the witches.

“Yes, Mother.” Ohotto hangs her pale head in shame, as Afar steps to her bedside bringing with her a pouch of rich and nourishing purple berry juice.

“Are you thirsty, Mother? Do your aches pain you?” Afar says in her heavy voice. She is not a native to these Western Islands, but she has spent many years here, under Chabon’s tutelage.

“No time to drink. I will repeat a dream for you, a nightmare – and I want you both to remember it, and to set it down on paper as soon as you can,” Chabon says. “It is a nightmare that I have had many times over the years, but now it comes frequently, every moon! Every week!”

“A prophecy.” Afar nods her head in awe. This will not be the first such prophecy that has fallen from the oldest witch’s lips. Afar Nguoa just hopes that it is also not the last.

“The seas are churning, bright with blood, and atop the waves there are flames,”

Chabon intones, her voice carrying in the still airs of her hut. “There is a darkness to the skies, a darkness that is more than thunder, but a darkness as if the sun is blocked by great wings….” The old woman wets her lips, remembering the other parts of the nightmare that she has had throughout her life. Like the stationary stars in the sky can suddenly coalesce into a constellation when one squints at them right, so the nightmares fall into place, one after another.

“There is a child, born from the waters. A girl, rising from the north-east sea, under a dragon’s angry call and upon her head is a crown made of leaping waves.”

About the Author: 

Ava Richardson writes epic page-turning Young Adult Fantasy books. She creates lovable characters and drops them into intricate worlds that are barely contained within your eReader. Her current work is the ‘Return of the Darkening Series’, which features Seb, Thea and their shared dragon, Kalax. 

She grew up on a steady diet of fantasy and science fiction books handed down from her two big brothers – and despite being dog-eared and missing pages, she loved escaping into the magical worlds that those authors created. Her favorites were the ones about dragons; where they’d swoop, dive and soar through the skies of these enchanted lands. 

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook 


GIVEAWAY: 

Enter to win a Dragon Trinket Box HERE!

Book Blitz Organized by: 

28 Mar 2018

WWW Wednesday #9

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words

WWW stands for three questions:
 
What are you currently reading?
 
We are still co-reading Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief with my brother. We are around halfway through at the moment. 
 
by Jenny Morton Potts


Synopsis:

Ready or not, the truth will come.

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens? 
 
 
What did you recently finish reading? 

by Anita Diamant


My review is coming soon!

(Expanding Horizon #1)
by Alli Reshi


Read my review here.
 
 
What do you think you'll read next?
 
by Salina B. Baker
 
 
Synopsis:

In the summer of 1869, beleaguered for-hire killer Zach Dimitru arrives in Eastport, Maine, bearing an amulet and searching for absolution. His salvation is dependent on the Benoit Family, who are also pitiless and tormented. Zach's deliverance is reliant on Juliette Benoit. The young woman is grieving the loss of her soul mate, whom she believes has reincarnated without her. Miraculously, the amulet imparts messages to Juliette. The fate of both Zach and Juliette, as well as the town, depends upon her ability to learn and convey those lessons before the arrival of a hurricane--one with the force to devastate Eastport.
 
I'll be part of this novel's book tour and I'm excited to start it.

What are your current reads? Don't forget to leave your WWW link below!

26 Mar 2018

Goodreads Monday #10

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren @ Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back to Lauren’s Page Turners and link up to the inlinkz so others can see what you picked!

The Song of Achilles is one of my all-time favourtie novels and since Cicre by Madeline Miller came out I've been yearning to put my hands on the book. This is my Goodreads Monday choice for the week:

by Madeline Miller


Synopsis:

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe's place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe's independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Have you read The Song of Achilles? Did you like it? Would you give Circe a try?

25 Mar 2018

Review - Oops, Caught by Alli Reshi

Title: Oops, Caught (Expanding Horizon #1)

Author: Alli Reshi

Synopsis:

Mark Noland can’t figure out how he got into such a fix. How does an ex-mercenary (okay, an almost-reformed mercenary) get himself caught, stuck in a holding cell, on a hostile alien planet? Held captive by strange bug-like creatures who’d just as soon eat him as look at him. How can a simple mission go so awry? To make matters worse, Noland’s not alone. His fellow prisoner, a certain high-ranking, elite Stella officer holds him responsible for their failed plan. Yeah, it was supposed to be a quick in and quick out sort of mission. But no… Officer Gavnson just can’t let it go.

It’s not so easy trying to plan an escape when Noland keeps getting distracted by how his mission partner so very nicely fills out his uniform. And he suspects Gavnson is hiding something, too. As tensions run high, secrets are revealed that will change the both of them. There’s nothing like gunfights and running for your life to make that special bond.

I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

I would give the first half of this novella a higher rating than I'd give the second half. I rarely come across a situation like this but here it is. The first part deserved three stars (pineapples) in my book, the second, one. The overall result: a sad two-star rating.

Noland and Officer Gavnson are shut up in a cell together. A mission went wrong and they both got caught by the Awoknain, nasty bug-like creatures who aren't famous for their hosptality. They have to plan their escape and define a not-so-clear relationship between the two of them.

The beginning was so much fun! What I expected. I liked Noland, he had a few tricks up his sleeve and he had an entertaining personlaity. He bought time for them coming up with an insane idea, they were also able to escape the cell because of his heroism. 

The way out was exciting too: first they hid, then they fought their way through the bugs; at this point the book had all the potential to turn into a very decent Firefly-esque story. However, once they reached a spaceship that was fit to escape in, this sci-fi tale started to bleed from many wounds.

It was obvious while they were at the bug-base that something was not right with Gavnson. He wanted to sacrifice himself all the time, it seemed like he was eager to die. Noland started to ask him about the war they fought on the same side and what happened since, but Gavnson didn't open up easily.

He was also very willing (almost pushy) to engage in sexual activity with Noland who kept turning him away (even though he wanted him too... the bugs told them they have to mate and Noland thought Gavnson was only willing because he didn't want to be tortured, but it was so clear it wasn't the only reason). 

The second half of the novella was a huge disappointment. Stuck on a spaceship with hours to spare Noland finally prodded Gavnson into telling him about his past and why he chose to come on the mission with Noland and his group. 

The story we get is confusing and incoherent. Noland's fleeting presence in it doesn't really explain Gavnson's infatuation with him since they'd never actually talked or at least it is not clear if they've talked since the war or not. I found this part a bit muddy, past happenings were too vaguely described to give us a full explanation regarding Gavnson's motivations or his behaviour.

The writing takes a turn for the worse here too. It is repetitive and preachy. The subject they talk about is important but the converation is full of clichés, not to mention a talk like this is unlikely to occur between two persons who have started to get truly close to one another only a few hours ago.

Yet another unfavorable review from me, I know. At least I liked the beginning this time...

24 Mar 2018

Weekend Wrap-up #2

The Sunday post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things you have received.


This week went by very fast and relatively uneventful. The snow is melting at last which gives me hope that spring is knocking at our doors. I'd really love to go for more walks but only if it's not freezing cold outside.

My left eye was inflamed yesterday but luckily it got better fast (I dabbed at it with a cotton pad soaked in camomile tea – gosh, I hate the smell of camomile...). Now I'm allowed to strain my eyes again, yay! XD



Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews that makes it possible to share with other bookworms what books you added to your shelves physical or virtual during the week.

I have only one new ARC to show you this week:

Title: Oops, Caught (Expanding Horizon #1)

Author: Alli Reshi

Source: NetGalley


Synopsis:

Mark Noland can’t figure out how he got into such a fix. How does an ex-mercenary (okay, an almost-reformed mercenary) get himself caught, stuck in a holding cell, on a hostile alien planet? Held captive by strange bug-like creatures who’d just as soon eat him as look at him. How can a simple mission go so awry? To make matters worse, Noland’s not alone. His fellow prisoner, a certain high-ranking, elite Stella officer holds him responsible for their failed plan. Yeah, it was supposed to be a quick in and quick out sort of mission. But no… Officer Gavnson just can’t let it go.

It’s not so easy trying to plan an escape when Noland keeps getting distracted by how his mission partner so very nicely fills out his uniform. And he suspects Gavnson is hiding something, too. As tensions run high, secrets are revealed that will change the both of them. There’s nothing like gunfights and running for your life to make that special bond.

It's a very short lgbtq sci-fi novella. My review will be up soon. 

I also have something else to share with you: a book-related DVD I've purchased recently:



I've seen this Onegin film adaptation ages ago and loved it a lot. It was around the time when in high school I had an Onegin phase and couldn't shut up about Pushkin's novel. Now that I'm gonna meet Toby Stephens in the summer at London Film and Comic Con, I've decided to revisit some of his older projects and this film is among them (he plays Lensky in it). Can't wait to discover if I'll still rate this movie as high as I would have done 10 years ago.

How was your week? What books did you add to your library? 
Leave your links down below, please!
Have a nice weekend!!

23 Mar 2018

Book Beginnings on Friday and the Friday 56 #9

 
Friday I'm in Love by The Cure is on repeat here at the moment. Welcome, Friday!!
 
Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules: 

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.
 
Today I'm featuring my next read:
 
by Jenny Morton Potts
 
 
Synopsis:

Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.

This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?
 
Book Beginning:
 
They died, Rebecca Brown's mum and dad. 
 
It's not exactly a sunny start. I already wish a happy ending for Rebecca Brown in this book. It should end on a happy note if this is how the beginning looks like.

The Friday 56:

Rebecca went completely crazy. Everything to hand was used: books, a plastic alarm clock, a tiny framed fishing boat picture on her bedside table, a biro stabbing at his white shirt, a snowglobe which made its mark on his cheekbone, pillows desperately and fists finally.

Whoever the guy is that got the beating I have a feeling he deserved it.
 
 
Hiding will be my first thriller in a long time. Somehow I haven't crossed ways with this genre in the last couple of months. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Would you give this book a shot? 
Please leave your Friday links below so I can go and visit your blog to comment on your post.

22 Mar 2018

Words, words, words - Review: Hamlet (National Theatre Live) with Benedict Cumberbatch

I first discovered the National Theatre Live experience a few years ago when I watched Mary Shelley's Frankenstein directed by Danny Boyle, starring surprise, surprise Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. I was so mesmerized by it, not long after I bought another ticket to watch the same play again (Benedict and Jonny exchanged roles Frankenstein/Creature each night and this time I watched the other version).

Back then I had to take a train and travel two and a half hours to reach the venue, but it was worth it. Guess what? I watched Hamlet in my own city! NTLive is spreading all over Europe and that's great news! (For more info about NTLive go here: http://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/)
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/cc/70/82/cc7082f94920f5f22ed8cf400ae5faad.jpg I'd been meaning to watch Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch (or HamletBatch as some call it) for some time but could never make it for some reason or another. One time I even had the ticket for a screening in Budapest, but the person I would have gone with cancelled and something got in the way for me too.

When I saw there would be a screening in my little town, I was determined to be there. I went with my mum who, I'm happy to report, enjoyed it too despite the fact she doesn't speak English (there were subtitles which made it possible for her to delight in the performance too).

I've been a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch since the beginning of Sherlock, before the time he became truly famous. I love and respect him because not only is he a good actor, he is also a nice human being who has to this day remained very humble about all his achievements. He was one of the main attractions for me, I won't lie.

The other reason I was eager to go was the simple fact that I'm a Shakespeare geek and Hamlet is my favourite tragedy by the Bard. I practically grew up on Shakespeare plays. Let's just say I'm the 90's kid who knew who Kenneth Branagh was before the second Harry Potter film came out.

Now you know my reasons, let's see some of my highlights about the performance: 

Hamlet
 by William Shakespeare
Dir.: Lyndsey Turner
Venue: Barbican Theatre, London


Before we saw the actual play they showed us part of an interview with Benedict in which the interviewer asked him what he usually felt after the performance was over. His reply: 'I feel tired and hungry' (See the whole of said interview here). It's a very funny response and he himself couldn't help but smile at his own answer but the thing is, it's no wonder he felt hunger after each performance. 
He basically didn't stop for a moment on stage: he ran around like a madman he feigned to be the whole time, shouting sentences, he climbed on tables, ran up and down staircases, you name it. He never stopped being on the move, which made the whole role physically challanging for him. Despite this he always held his act together, the man is an energy bomb.
 The first thing that took my breath away was the set.
It looks like a proper film set, doesn't it? We are inside the castle in a great hall that serves as dining room in the beginning, office to discuss military matters later, a courtyard or the Queen's chamber. It is a wonderfully designed set, beautiful to look at and well utilized too. One of my favourite parts was when Hamlet, Horatio and the two gurads used the little passage on the top of the stares as if it were the battlement of the castle to look down at the ghost who stood below them.

'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.'
 Marcellus, Act I Scene IV

In the second act they added only one thing to the picture: the ground was covered in rubbles. It symbolized the destruction of life and forecasted the tragedy at the end, how both youth and future would crumble into dust. To make the second act more foreboding they also dimmed the lights; this part was much darker altogether than the beginning. I liked the contrast they created.

'Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.'
Polonius, Act II Scene II
I approved of the balance they found between modern and old in the play. Since the set with the paintings and weaponry displayed on the walls satisfied my all-time yearning for 'old Shakespeare', I didn't mind all the modern details they hid along the way. (I rarely enjoy modernized Shakespeare I'm afraid, I guess it's a matter of taste.) Here old was mixed with new and so everyone could find something to their liking in it.

Actually sometimes modern silliness was compared with old value, which perked me up. For example when Hamlet compares the portraits of his father and Claudius, the object that holds Claudius's likeness is a cheesy plate (you know those plates you can buy in souvenir shops, that have the Royal family members painted on them...), while Hamlet's father is depicted on a painting that hangs on the wall. In this case our own present society's ditasteful and garish habits were riduculed and belittled in the light of the value of the past.
Other times modernity revealed a bright side; it became the source of humour (not the object of it). Like when Hamlet put on this jacket over his David Bowie T-shirt and was ready to be called the live embodiment of pop-culture, then turned around and we saw the following:

https://i.pinimg.com/564x/bf/b7/c3/bfb7c3ef40c7529d162eccc5a61e2f0b.jpg






The rest of the time however, 20th century objects were used not to make us laugh, but to represent the characters' connection to the past; most objects held memories. In the beginning of the performance the music that Hamlet plays on the recorder helps him get into a nostalgic mood. While listening to music he looks at pictures of his late father. Ophelia carries a camera on her person every time she appears and the only thing that remains after her death is a chest full of photographs. During the plate/painting comparision I mentioned before, Hamlet recalls what a great man his father was and scolds her mother for fogetting this. The Dawid Bowie tribute above speaks for itself...

This game of old and new kept me entertained.

'Give him heedful note; 
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,
And after we will both our judgements join
In censure of his seeming.'
Hamlet to Horatio, Act III Scene II
The Mousetrap Scene in which Hamlet tricks his uncle into admitting his crime against Hamlet's late father was taken to another level. The actors started to play The Murder of Gonzago on a little stage set up for the royal party and first we saw only the backs of Caludius and the Queen. We only learned how they reacted to the play through Hamlet's remarks.

However, when the most important part came, the presentation of the murder itself, the actors moved off the small stage and put themselves between the royal party and the audience. The murder came off the stage, as it was commited in the reality of the play too. It was an ingenious decision of the director, just like the next step: it was Hamlet who poured the poison in the ear of the actor-father, which means for a moment he took on Claudius's role. Throughout the play he contemplates the idea of becoming a murderer himself and this was like a rehearsal of the act that was to come. Amazing choices and great execution, I say.

Hamlet: Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
Gravedigger: Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.
Hamlet: Why?
Gravedigger: 'Twill, a not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.
Act V Scene I
You think Hamlet is a sad play? No, no, not all of it, at least; there is comedy in there, plentiful. The whole cinema was laughing at parts. Like when Hamlet stood on a table talking to Polonius and did the funny Monty Python walk. Or when the gravedigger casually started throwing skulls out of the grave as if they were baseballs. Shakespeare's incredible lines were only fuel to the fire.
 'The time is out of joint; O crused spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!'
Hamlet, Act I Scene V

Benedict was a very sensitive and emotional Hamlet. It suited him. He has this gesture where he brings his hands to his face: it's a simple act, yet it speaks volumes of one's emotional state. He used it many times to express desperation and grief. In Hamlet (well, in any other Shakespeare play, really) the protagonist has a social existance (in dialogues) and an inner existence (in monologues). Benedict's Hamlet was energetic when he was not alone and shared his thoughts with the audience with an high-burning, yet consciously controlled passion when he had the spotlight. I was with Hamlet through all his struggles and pains.


I was half happy half not with the rest of the casting choices. Leo Bill as Horatio just didn't work for me. I didn't feel the companionship between him and Hamlet, he was more of a buddy to him than a true friend and confidant. His 'costume' (plaid shirt and an ever-present backpack – he looked like he was about to move in or out of a college dormitory) also marked him as an outsider somehow. Sian Brooke's Ophelia didn't make a strong impression on me either unfortunately. Mad Ophelia was twitchy and fidgety. Her madness was significant, yet she was insignificant in her madness. I'd have preferred a bigger show of her insanity, instead I got a withdrawn creature who was almost apologetic in her gestures for uttering words of grief.

Ciarán Hinds' Claudius was very powerful. He had a collected presence on stage. Claudius was a commandig figure, conscious in his acts, never wavering. This is how I imagine Claudius, although perhaps he could have been a bit more evil in his speech, in his gestures to make himself a bit more unlikable.

I also liked the Queen, played by Anastasia Hille. Her empathetic and repentant Gertrude was spot on. The royal couple was good in general.

The ending was a bit rushed but that's something I can forgive. There is a lot of action packed in the last scene, things happen fast in the play too. I absolutely loved how the contrast of Laertes (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) and Hamlet's skin signalled their different sides, but at the same time their companionship in revenge. Laertes and Hamlet are each other's equal, like chess pieces on two sides of the board. I'll go further, they are virtually the same person facing the same dilemma. Their forgiving each other before dying can be interpreted as Hamlet forgiving himself for committing murder.


That's it folks. Sorry for over-analyzing but as you can see I adored this version of Hamlet.

Actually, I'm planning to turn 'Words, words, words' into a series of posts (a LOT shorter posts, haha) in which I'll write about anything and everything Shakespeare (film adaptations, theatrical performances, character types or whatever I feel like writing about in connection with Shakespeare). 

If you have a favourite Shakespeare play, adaptation etc. and you'd like to read my opinion about it, let me know and I'll make sure to write a post featuring it.

Also, I kinda wanted to write about the perks of watching an NTLive production but this post was too long already and I decided not to include them. I might write a separate one with that topic, if you are interested.

What do you think? Would you be happy to read other posts like this?

20 Mar 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday #2 Books I can't wait to share

 

'Tell Me Something Tuesday' is a weekly discussion post at Rainy Day Ramblings.

The question of the week is:

What books are you excited to share with your kids or younger readers in your life? 

I don't have kids yet, but I'm lucky enough to have a brother who was born when I was 18. Basically I'm like a second mum to him, I've been there since the moment he was born. 

He has only recently started to become interested in reading but to this day he rather reads together with someone than alone. I sit down with him quite often to read a few pages of a book out loud, then he takes over and we take turns like this until we read our fill. We have so much fun with this method!

He is ten, so he's reached the 'ripe' age when he can be intorduced to middle grade books. So far we have read the first three instalments in the Harry Potter series and we have started the first book in the Percy Jackson series a couple of weeks ago. I'm new to the Percy Jackson stories, the plot fascinates me as much as it does him. 


Books I can't wait to share with my kids one day:


Winnie The Pooh 
by A. A. Milne

I remember reading many adventures featuring Winnie the Pooh, sitting in a comfy chair in my grandmother's flat but of course the original was the best. That was around the time when I got my first library card and I think the first books I borrowed from the library included Winnie the Pooh tales. I would like to intorduce this sweet bear to my kids one day and vice versa.



by P. L. Travers

The one and only. I read the sequel too, devoured both books and liked to pretend I can fly with an umbrella in my hand. I'd like to believe that if I'll have a daughter she'll be as in love with this story as I was once.





by Meg Cabot

This is such a funny and witty series... I remember I wished for a cat like Mia's when I was knee-deep in these books. That cute creature on the cover is so precious.





by Henryk Sienkiewicz

This is a lesser known children's classic that is set in Africa. I will probably not give it to my children until they are a bit older (10-12 perhaps) because I remember I started to read it twice first I couldn't get into it, I needed to mature a bit. Later I LOVED it though. It's about a pair of children who get lost in Africa; they get abducted, then they escape and try to find their way home. They make friends with animals and African children during their journey.


What would be your picks? Leave a comment and let me know!
 

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